Sandakphu trek is a must do trek for people eager to explore Darjeeling/Sikkim hills and enjoy the breathtaking panorama of Himalayan peaks. Sandakphu is the highest point of West Bengal at 3636 m/11926 ft in the district of Darjeeling and Phalut is another table top on the same ridge. This trek follows the famous Singalila Ridge, a prominent spur of high ground that lies at the southern end of a long crest, which runs down from the Kanchendzongha massif and forms the border between Sikkim & Nepal. One of the unavoidable necessities of trekking in Himalaya is that the best views are had from high up but the trek along this ridge, passing through small settlements, is perhaps the one of the most scenically rewarding in the Himalaya. There are spectacular panoramic views of Nepal Himalayas including Kanchendzongha range, Makalu, Everest, Lhotse, Janu, Chamlang, Baruntse and a host of peaks in Sikkim all seen in one stretch. The famous “Sleeping Buddha” formation of peaks is a delight for all. The Singalila National park area has rare species like Red Panda and is a birder’s paradise. Flowering of Rhododendrons and Magnolia fill the forest with red, pink and white shades during spring and foliage hue during fall. General Info: Trek grade: moderate / Total distance covered: 75 to 80 kms / Trekking days: 6 days / Max altitude reached: 3636m (12,000 ft.) / Best time to trek: Between April and early June and from last week of September to middle December / Minimum winter temperature: −4°C to −8°C. / Minimum summer temperature: 1°C to 2°C. Highlights of the trek: Stunning view of Mt. Kanchendzongha, Stay at Trekkers’ Hut / Tea House / Homestays, Interact with Local People, Car backup up to Phalut (Heritage Land Rover), Chance to see Himalayan Red Panda!
ATTRACTIONS OF THE TREK:
- Beautiful landscape (Mount Kanchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse, Makalu & Rhododendrons flowers)
- Walk through the India Nepal border (No fence)
- Interaction with locals in the villages (India & Nepal)
- Comfortable stay at village homestays/Tea House
- Vehicle backup upto Phalut
- Day 01: Arrival at Bagdogra (IXB)/New Jalpaiguri (NJP) & transfer to Darjeeling
- Day 02: Acclimatization stay at Darjeeling
- Day 03: Darjeeling to Maneybhanjan (2 hours drive) and trek to Tumling – 13 Km – 5/6 hours
- Day 04: Trek to Kalapokhri – 12 Km – 6/7 hours
- Day 05: Trek to Sandakphu – 7 Km – 3/4 hours
- Day 06: Sandakphu to Phalut – 21 Km – 8/9 hours
- Day 07: Phalut to Gorkhey – 15 Km – 4/5 hours
- Day 08: Trek to Srikhola – 16 Km – 4/5 hours
- Day 09: Transfer to Tea Estate & overnight in a Heritage Tea Bungalow
- Day 10: Transfer to Bagdogra (IXB)/New Jalpaiguri (NJP) for your return journey
Day 01: Arrival at Bagdogra (IXB)/New Jalpaiguri (NJP) & transfer to Darjeeling
Arrival at Bagdogra Airport & drive (3 hrs) to Darjeeling. Rest and acclimatization. O/N at Cottage/Hotel.
Day 02: Acclimatization stay at Darjeeling
Whole day stay at Darjeeling. Can do acclimatization walk in the heritage town. O/N at Cottage/Hotel.
Day 03: Darjeeling to Maneybhanjan (2.5 hours drive) and trek to Tumling – 13 Km – 5/6 hours
After early breakfast transfer to Maneybhanjan (2.5 hrs drive) fulfil entry formalities (at Singalila National Park) and commence trekking for Tumling. The walk goes through steep hill with a short-cut trail to Chitre involving 1 ½ hrs of climbing. About another 1 ½ hrs from Chitre we reach a nice small village called Megma. The trail now levels out and another 2 hrs of easy walk leads to Tumling (10000 ft). O/N at Trekkers’ Hut / Tea House / Homestays.
Day 04: Tumling to Kalapokhri – 12 Km – 6/7 hours
The initial part of today's walk is on majorly level ground till we reach the Singalila National Park check post. We then crossover into Nepal on a rolling trail and reach the Nepalese village of Jaubari. Proceeding from here after a further hour, we cross back over to the Indian side of the border and decend to the Indian village of Gairibas. The day so far will be fairly easy. From Garibas however, after a short break we get ready for the climb through thick conifer, birch and Rhododendron trees. After the gradual 2 to 3 hour climb, we'll see the Kalpokhri Lake. Kalipokhri in Nepali language means a black pond. Through the route one can see several Nepalese villages scattered on different ridges. O/N at Trekkers’ Hut / Tea House / Homestays.
Day 05: Kalpokhri to Sandakphu – 7 Km – 3/4 hours
Today the distance we cover is not too much; however you may get breathless due to the immense altitude gain. We traverse the ridge to reach Bhikey Bhanjang on the trail inside Nepal. The road ahead has several turns. On the right hand we can see one ridge after another meeting the horizon. We then ascend to the top of the Sandakphu ridge which is the natural border between India and Nepal. We proceed to Sandakphu top (3636 m) marked with strings of prayer flags. We see before us the remarkable breathtaking panoramic view of the snowy ranges of Nepal, Sikkim & Bhutan. The prominent peaks are Kanchenjunga range, Kabru range, Kumbhakarna (Janu), Pandim, Chamlang, Baruntse, Everest, Lhotse & Makalu. O/N at Trekkers’ Hut / Tea House / Homestays.
Day 06: Sandakphu to Phalut – 21 Km – 8/9 hours
There's something about the morning view in the Himalayas. The weather is cold, but we will encourage to wake up in time for the sunrise. The sunrise at Sandakphu could be one of the best one's you've ever witnessed. On a clear day you'll be able to see an over 300 kilometer panorama of the Himalayas stretching from Sikkim to Nepal and Bhutan. You'll also be able to spot some giant peaks like Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kanchenjunga. After the mesmerizing sunrise, we have breakfast and proceed onwards to Phalut. The journey today is a long but easy stretch with gradual ascents and descents. A walk of eight to nine hours through rhododendrons and then for a couple of hours over treeless mountain slopes to reach Phalut, the meeting place of three ridges coming from India, Nepal and Sikkim. Phalut provides a spectacular view of Everest and Kanchenjunga. O/N at Trekkers’ Hut / Tea House / Homestays.
Day 07: Phalut to Gorkhey – 15 Km – 4/5 hours
For the second day in a row, we try and wake up early to try and catch the sunrise. Considering Phalut is further north east than the rest of the trail, you are right now as close as possible to the giant Kanchenjunga. After breakfast our day starts with a descend through the rich bamboo and rhododendron forest to the picturesque village of Gorkhey ( 2400m). The river which flows beside the village is also named as Gorkhey River and forms the boundary between the state of West Bengal and Sikkim. O/N at Trekkers’ Hut / Tea House / Homestays.
Day 08: Gorkhey to Srikhola – 16 Km – 4/5 hours
We start the day by climbing a small hill to reach another village called Samandin. This is situated on a table top and looks like painting on canvas. Keeping the village behind we descent to the village of Rammam. From here we get down following a path cobbled with rocks and steadily descend for another hour to reach our destination for the day Srikhola (1900m). Our walk ends here. A cable suspension bridge connects Srikhola to the road which leads to Rimbik and Maneybhanjan which will be our motor route the next day. O/N at Trekkers’ Hut / Tea House / Homestays.
Day 09: Transfer to Tea Estate & overnight in a Heritage Tea Bungalow
Drive to Heritage Tea Bungalow via Maneybhanjan (here we collect our luggage left before the trek) and relax. O/N at Heritage Tea Bungalow.
Day 10: to Bagdogra (IXB)/New Jalpaiguri (NJP) for your return journey
Transfer to Bagdogra Airport (IXB) and departure.
P.S.: Distances and altitudes are approximate and may not be exact.
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN PRICE
- All transfer (Bandogra/NJP – Darjeeling – Maneybhanjan and Srikhola – Tea Garden – Bagdogra/NJP) by SUV (four people in one).
- Accommodation at Darjeeling (2 nights) in a nice Resort/Hotel on CP plan (Bed & Breakfast) AND at Tea Heritage Bungalow (1 night) on AP plan (Bed, Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
- Six nights stay at trekkers’ hut / tea house / homestsys with all food (Bed Tea, Breakfast, Light Lunch and Dinner) during the trek.
- Vehicle Backup (one heritage Land Rover up to Phalut).
- National Park Entry Fees at Maneybhanjan & Sandakphu.
- Accompanying Local Guide.
- All Applicable Taxes.
COST DOESN’T INCLUDE
- Flights fare
- Camera fees
- Personal porter
- Medical & evacuation (if any)
- Any additional expenses associated with any change in plan/itinerary due to natural disaster or factors beyond our control.